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Question 1

Is there a difference between the will of God and the guidance of God?

Yes, there is a difference between the Lord’s will and the Lord’s guidance. God’s will for our lives is plainly revealed in Scripture. For example, it is God’s will for us to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in everything (1 Thess. 5:16–18). God’s will is for a husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25–33). It is God’s will for every follower of Christ to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18).

The guidance of God, on the other hand, is dependent on and connected with our obedience to God’s revealed will in Scripture. As we obey the will of God, the Lord guides us to the places where He wants us to serve and to the people He wants us to meet. Proverbs 3:6 sums up well the relationship between God’s will and God’s guidance in our lives: “In all of your ways submit to him [in other words, obey the will of God revealed in His Word] and he will make your paths straight [we will experience the guidance of God].”

BY Dr. Winfred O. Neely

Dr. Winfred Neely is Vice President and Dean of Moody Theological Seminary and Graduate School. An ordained minister, Winfred has served churches across the city of Chicago, the near west suburbs, and Senegal, West Africa. He is the author of How to Overcome Worry (Moody Publishers) and a contributor to the Moody Bible Commentary and Moody Handbook of Preaching. Winfred and his wife Stephne have been married for forty years and have four adult children and nine grandchildren.

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